If you are a fan of the glorious Twentieth Century Fox musicals, you’ll be pleased to hear about the upcoming two new CD releases starring two of Fox’s biggest stars, Alice Faye and Betty Grable.
Both releases are 2 CD sets and contain 60 tracks featuring Alice and Betty and their costars including Don Ameche, Dick Powell, Carmen Miranda, Harry James, Ann Sothern.
The recordings are taken from rare playback discs, studio discs, radio previews and optical soundtracks.
Through the use of the playback and studio recordings, the music on the cds is presented in its most pristine form, sans dialogue, applause, special effects or tap sounds ( which would all be added later). So you hear the music, the orchestrations and the voices as originally pre-recorded .
The CDs can be ordered from Sepia Records (www.sepiarecords.com) from April 10th,2021, and the official release date worldwide is 5/5/21.
(Richard Tay formed Sepia Records in 2002 to preserve the great recordings of our musical heritage. Richard welcomes suggestions for possible future concepts.)
Betty and Alice were good friends.
Betty and Alice introduced songs by some of the greatest songwriters like Irving Berlin, Harry Warren, Ralph Rainger, Leo Robin, Gordon &Revel,Jimmy McHugh, Harold Arlen.
When Alice left Fox in 1945, she and her husband Phil Harris had a successful radio show for many years.
In 1974,Alice reunited with John Payne for a stage version of GOOD NEWS. It’s wonderful to see the two of them sing ‘You’re the Cream in My Coffee’ (You Tube).
A shame that many of Alice’s musicals were in black & white in the 1930s.
I talked to film historian Bryan Cooper in Los Angeles. Bryan sourced the rare playback and studio discs used in the CDs.
The new CDs are also available from the Hollywood Heritage Museum, of which Bryan is a board member. (www.hollywoodheritage.org )
Bryan: “The museum is housed in a historic building, the Lasky-DeMille barn. Built in 1912, it was originally the production house for Jesse Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille when they began making films in the early days of Hollywood.
We have props, memorabilia and other artefacts from the silent era through the talkies.”
I asked Bryan about future releases:
“The next CD three sets in the series will cover Betty Grable’s career at Fox from 1945-1950, and Alice Faye’s career from 1940 through to 1945 when she left the studio.
The various artists set will include songs by other Fox stars such as Shirley Temple, Tony Martin, Ethel Merman, Vivian Blaine, plus the big bands of Sammy Kaye and Woody Herman and much more – all taken from rare studio discs. I am in the process of compiling that one for Sepia Records now.”
Bryan told me that his uncle was actor Billy Gilbert and he has written about Billy and his aunt Fay McKenzie for Classic Images magazine. ( Billy was so funny as ‘The Sheik of Araby’ in Tin Pan Alley. He was also in “Weekend in Havana” and “ Song of the Islands”.
The museum is at 2100 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood , across from the Hollywood Bowl, and is run by volunteers.
I was delighted to see again on You Tube for the first time since its transmission on the BBC in 1984 , Alice Faye’s THIS IS YOUR LIFE.
So wonderful to see so many of the stars Alice worked with and was friends with – Bob Hope, Ginger Rogers, Ruby Keeler, Rudy Vallee, Jane Withers, John Payne, Don Ameche , Fred MacMurray, June Haver, George Murphy , Cesar Romero, Mary Martin,Anthony Quinn.
Talk about star-studded!
And lovely to see Alice’s two daughters and their families. Alice looked great and displayed a dry sense of humour. ( when Rudy Vallee came on, she bowed to him!)